Like everyone else on the Internet, Wesley and Alex wanted Michael Bay's Pain & Gain — his first film without Decepticons in a while — to be amazing. And it's amazing. But is it good? Is it funny? What does Michael Bay want from us? What does Michael Bay want from Michael Bay? And is there a Chekhov rule about introducing a warehouse full of sex toys in the first act? All this plus a defense of The Island! Get pumped.
The Rock Had a Tough Childhood: "Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson has a reputation for being the ultimate showman, playing badass tough guys in movies like G.I. Joe Retaliation and The Scorpion King, and winning over WWE wrestling fans with his charisma, sarcasm and million-dollar smile. But behind his confident facade, it turns out the 41-year-old actor has been hiding the truth about his heartbreaking past — one in which he's had to overcome the pain of an alcoholic, unfaithful father and his run-in with the law." I love The Rock so much. "Dewey had a really hard time as a child growing up because he never saw his dad," according to Luan Crable, who had a "25-year-long romantic affair with Dwayne's father, former pro wrestler Rocky Johnson." Oh, my god, his father was a wrestler??? "Rocky was on the road 12 out of every 14 days" and "Dwayne must have worshipped his father, having followed Rocky into pro wrestling after a severe back injury ended his early football career." Man, this is Shakespearean.
Has Dwayne Johnson been looking particularly extraterrestrial these days? Bulking up for Pain & Gain, he appears to have gone beyond your basic creatine-aided swelling and passed into some kind of advanced, superior non-human realm. But, sadly, we now have proof The Rock is indeed human. I mean, do superior advanced aliens get hernia surgery?
The Miami Heat's epic winning streak may have ended, but the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles are the NCAA tournament's Cinderella story and Spring Breakers is a surprise hit. Here are five more reasons why Florida is the nation's current cultural capital.
1. Electronic Dance Music & Trap Rap
The EDM bubble has yet to burst (or um, drop), and while we may look back at this era one day with all the head-shaking fondness now reserved for hair metal, right now is a good time to be an arena rave DJ or electronic musician in Florida. Particularly this month, when the annual Winter Music Conference is held in Miami in tandem with the electrocentric Ultra Music Festival. Diplo, who set out to be a world-famous DJ like Paul Oakenfold as a goof and ended up succeeding, also as a goof (Paul Jokenfold), titled his debut full-length album Florida in homage to the state he spent some years growing up in. Also inescapable: Carol City native Rick Ross's lumbering trap rap, heard blasting in bottle service clubs and out of hulking cars, most recently encouraging you to slip Molly in your date's drink and date-rape her.
Did you think a second G.I. Joe movie was a good idea? It wasn't simply that the first one — taken from action figures and an after-school cartoon series — was nap-inducing (although, at least in my seat, naps were had). G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra starred Marlon Wayans and Channing Tatum, cost $175 million to make, and was kind of the Huey Lewis and the News of hit blockbusters. It made more than $302 million globally, and yet it was hard to find anyone happy they stayed for the whole thing.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation was supposed to happen last summer but was pushed back until today. The stated reason was a lot of blah-blah-blah about an unfinished 3-D conversion. But it's likely someone at Paramount noticed that in the three years since The Rise of Cobra, Tatum has turned from a pile of wood into a piece of popular furniture: He's the star equivalent of IKEA's Expedit bookshelf — basic, reliable, almost everywhere, and assembly still required.
The Germans probably have a word for that feeling you experience when something you believed to be perfect is proven imperfect by the subsequent revelation of a seemingly more-perfect thing. Anyway: Whatever that word is, you're about to be crushed by it, because a red-band trailer for Pain and Gain has arrived, and it has obliterated the now-tainted memory of the mere appetizer Michael Bay served us back in December. (Remember how excited we all got? Seems silly now.)
There's a moment in Snitch that, if the world were different, you'd probably miss. But given all the talking we've been doing about guns, it stands out. Dwayne Johnson stands in the middle of an ammo shop. The camera spins around him the way cameras do when they want to convey a sense of being overwhelmed. You don't see him purchase the shotguns he uses a few scenes later in a tense road-chase sequence. But you sense the magnitude of what he's about to do rising up around him, that he's waist-deep in stress.
Recent reports estimate the cost of a 30-second Super Bowl commercial spot to be upwards of 4 million dollars, to be seen by some 114 million viewers. Here is how some of the world's biggest companies chose to make the most of that investment.
Yesterday afternoon, Michael Bay debuted the trailer for Pain and Gain, his first non-Transformers movie since 2005, inspiring an internal Grantland e-mail chain every bit as over-the-top and exuberantly explosion-laden as his filmography. So we thought we'd share it. What has 16 thumbs and is way too excited about The Rock and Mark Wahlberg playing criminal bodybuilders? These guys.
Back in February, Grantland pointed your attention to the news that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was in talks for Brett Ratner's comeback flick: Hercules, a "big stomp-y sandals-and-swords flick [based on Steve Moore's Hercules: The Thracian War], a hyper-aggressive 300-style romp through mythology." Well, now it's official. Deadline reports that both Johnson and Ratner are signed on, and that production will start in 2013. Congratulations, The Rock: You now continue to have a multitude of professional reasons to look like this.
The once and future Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) dons extraplanetary swords and sandals to strap up for this seemingly humorless sci-fi gladiator epic about imperialism. "You are ugly, but you are beautiful." You are silly, movies about squinty stoic heroes saving princesses from things.
By any conceivable metric, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has had an extremely successful career. From champion wrestler and catchphrase-ologist to big-screen action star, self-effacing comedian, and, ultimately, family-friendly lug, he’s managed to stay both popular and relevant, despite the constantly shifting tides of Hollywood. Now, for his next act, the formerly shirtless wonder has chosen a fascinating, original strategy. To combat the inevitable fame-creep — and not to mention the high-stakes risk involved for any star who gets his name above the title — Johnson and his forward-thinking reps have torn up the playbook for aging action heroes and tried something new. Johnson’s career, it seems, is now plotted solely on sequels.